2017 American Express Platinum Card Review – WalletHub
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The Verdict: The Platinum Card® from American Express actually costs more than its weight in platinum. Standard plastic credit cards such as Amex Platinum tend to weigh about 5 grams each, you see, and platinum was priced a bit over $31 per gram as of Jan. 27, 2017. That equates to roughly $157, or over one-third of the Amex Platinum Card’s $550 annual fee. While this card is therefore unquestionably expensive, the ultimate question still remains: Is it worth it?
It is if you are a frequent traveler who pays his or her bill in full every month and can take full advantage of complimentary airport-lounge access and hotel rewards status. The fact that it’s a charge card means you won’t be able to finance any purchases, either. If you don’t pay your bill in full one month, you will get hit with a $38 late fee and won’t be able to make any new purchases until your balance is paid.
As a result, the Platinum Card® from American Express isn’t an everyday credit card, nor is it ideal for most people. But if you have excellent credit, a penchant for travel and a liberal budget, it’s at least worth a closer look given its assorted accoutrements.
- 60,000-Point Initial Bonus: Spending $5,000 during the first three months your account is open will earn you 60,000 bonus points, redeemable for ~$500 in gift cards or travel purchased through American Express. You have other redemption options, to be sure, but those two methods provide the most value.
- $200 Annual Airline Credit and $200 Annual Uber credits: Each year, you stand to receive up to $200 in statement credits to cover “incidental” air travel expenses, such as baggage fees and the cost of in-flight refreshments. All you have to do is designate an airline of choice, and you will be automatically credited for eligible charges assessed by that airline as they post to your account. In addition you will also receive up to $200 in Uber credits annually.
- Complimentary Hotel Status: As an Amex Platinum cardholder, you will have the ability to enroll in Hilton’s Hilton Honors Rewards program as a Gold-level member for free, without having to meet the spending requirements to which other consumers are subject. Ordinarily, Hilton Honors Gold membership costs at least $2,880 per year, based on Hilton's minimum stay requirements and average daily room rate.
Free Access To Airport Lounges: The Platinum Card® from American Expressis your ticket to preflight leisure, providing complimentary access to over 1000 airport lounges worldwide. It provides automatic entry to the American Express Centurion Lounge – which has locations in New York (La Guardia), Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Miami and Houston – as well as the Airspace Lounge (four locations) and the Delta Sky Club (51 locations available to Platinum cardholders). It also gives you the option of joining Priority Pass Select, which features more than 1000 lounges, at no cost.
Ordinarily, without the Platinum Card, a one-time pass to a Centurion Lounge costs $50 and is only available to American Express cardholders. Airspace Lounge and Delta Sky Club charge a minimum of $20 and $59, respectively, and you’d have to pay a $99 annual fee just for the privilege of shelling out another $27 per visit to a Priority Pass Select location.
Up To 5 Points Per $1 Spent: The American Express Platinum Card’s regular rewards earning rate is perhaps its least exciting benefit, providing only the market average of 1 point per $1 spent on most purchases made with the card, yet it is a benefit nonetheless. of 1 point per $1 spent on most purchases made with the card, yet it is a benefit nonetheless. After all, you also get 5 points per $1 spent on airlines and hotels booked through American Express Travel.
One thing to note, however, is that rental-car reservations and non-prepaid hotel reservations are for some reason specifically excluded from earning double points. That could potentially loom large, depending on your travel preferences.
- $550 Annual Fee: The Platinum Card® from American Express has one major weakness: its prodigious cost. Only two of the more than 1,000 credit cards tracked by WalletHub charge more than Platinum’s $550 annual fee. So you should think long and hard about the Platinum Card's hefty cost before you submit an application.
- No Financing Capabilities: While inherent to Amex Platinum’s nature as a charge card, the fact that you must pay your bill in full every month in order to continue making purchases with this card does limit its versatility relative to a “normal credit card.” And since you figure to be paying so much to use this card to begin with, every bit of lost functionality matters.
Other Things To Consider
- No Preset Spending Limit: It doesn’t mean you don’t have a limit. Rather, this card’s No Preset Spending Limit (NPSL) feature means that Amex determines your limit on a monthly basis, based on your recent spending and payment habits and the economic climate. Unfortunately, you won’t be privy to this information, and without a clear limit in mind, you could find yourself at the wrong end of a declined transaction – perhaps even in an emergency situation when traveling.
No Foreign Transaction Fees: More and more credit cards are scrapping foreign transaction fees, as evidenced by the fact that the average foreign surcharge has declined by almost 22% from 2011 through 2016, according to WalletHub’s Credit Card Landscape Report. Amex Platinum is among the cards that lack such a fee. And while that should be expected from a card catered to luxury travel, the ability to save the market average of 1.97% on every purchase processed abroad could nevertheless prove to be quite valuable.
That is, of course, if you can find a merchant that accepts American Express. Amex, the world’s third-largest card network, operates in 130 countries, which might seem like a lot until you consider that Visa and MasterCard are both accepted in more than 200 countries.
Free Boingo Wireless: As a cardholder, you will receive a free membership with the wireless hotspot provider Boingo. This gives you access to more than one million land-based hotspots around the world on up to four devices. The service does not include in-flight Wi-Fi, and multiple users cannot simultaneously access more than one hotspot using the same account.
Purchased independently, this Boingo plan would cost $39 per month. That’s $468 per year, a significant value if you’re already paying for the service or would use it regularly.
- Credit For Expedited Airport Screening: If you apply for and are granted either Global Entry or TSA Precheck and pay the corresponding membership fees ($100 and $85, respectively) with your American Express Platinum Card, you will automatically receive a statement credit reimbursing you for the cost. You can receive one such credit every four years.
- Platinum Dining: You will have access to a concierge who can book reservations on your behalf at more than 1,000 restaurants and make other related arrangements and recommendations. You can see what restaurants are available in your favorite destinations on the Platinum Dining webpage.
- “By Invitation Only” Program: Reserved for Platinum and Centurion cardholders, By Invitation Only gives you access to special events such as sports games, culinary events and auto shows. You can find a full list of available experiences here.
Compared To The Competition
Rates & Fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Citi Prestige® Card
Rates & Fees
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
|Annual Fee||$550||$450||None 1st yr, $195 after||None 1st yr, $89 after|
|Rewards Bonus||60000 points||40000 points||25000 points||50000 miles|
|Rewards Rate||1 - 5 points / $1||1 - 3 points / $1||1 - 3 points / $1||2 miles / $1|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Transfer Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered||0% for 12 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Regular APR||N/A||16.74% - 24.74% (V)||N/A||16.74% - 23.74% (V)|
|Editors’ Rating||3.0 / 5||3.9 / 5||2.8 / 5||5.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More|
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